One idea that I believe is inherent in all of us Europeans is the desire to express ourselves through creative means. This can vary in a myriad of ways: from photography, playing an instrument, singing, writing, painting, playing games, RPG’s, etc. Many great European men and women have dedicated themselves to their skills or arts and have produced stupendous results that bewilder the eye and the mind and induce great feelings of awe and admiration. The music of great composers such as Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Wagner; the paintings of Boucher, Rubens, Friedrich, Gude and Delacroix that evoke an overwhelming feeling of all pervasiveness; the sculptures and pottery of the ancient Greeks and Romans that convey immense scenes of mythology and other historical insights amongst other cultural and religious depictions. Through a drawing or landscape we are able to experience the presence of nature (or any other object for that matter) when it is not fully accessible. One can hang a painting or drawing in their home and feel a strong emotional connection to a far distant grove or forest that can be thousands of miles away in their homeland. One can look at the drawings and paintings of artists such as Theodor Kittelsen and be transcended into the depths of those beckoning forests or the melancholic atmosphere of the Norwegian countryside. One can look at the softly lit and vivaciously fluid Rococo works of Francois Boucher and be filled with the serene aurora of his Neoclassical themes. One can look at the cave paintings of the Chauvet cave in France and feel the primitive beauty that exudes from the cave walls and imbues itself in the fascinated gazer.
The power of artistic expression leaves an ingrained and immensely powerful mark on our mind and spirit. It can shape how we perceive our everyday surroundings and how we consequently can attempt to recreate and appreciate them ourselves. In attempting to recreate a work from nature or one of our own, we can sometimes be confined by the artistic tools at our disposal. This confinement can be from our own skills, our environment, the instruments we use to create our art, or even the very time period we are born in. This is an uncertain relationship between an artist and his or her work but certainly one that can be remedied. Accounting for all of this, it is possible I believe to overcome our confinements and vividly bring our works to life. It is the same as how a river winds and meanders around the rocks and fallen trees of it’s stream and how it eventually reaches it’s delta and spreads itself in all directions; graciously enriching the soil, plants and all other forms of life around it.
Given this temporary lull in my life from the winter months, among other things I have recently taken an interest in is something new: the art of drawing. Since I was young, I have always wished to be able look at an object or scene and be able to meticulously replicate it on a piece of paper with great exquisiteness and detail. How to hold the pencil, the manual dexterity, the proportion, the eye-hand coordination, the patience, shading techniques and the firmness of the pencil against the paper are all factors that need to be considered and practiced when creating a drawing. I am by no means an expert (yet) but I will try to dedicate some time to it like I do in everything else. Like any other skill, proficiency necessitates practice and dedication. Beauty requires a committed mind and hand. So, in addition to all of my other activities that I have listed here (including writing for this blog) I can now add yet another skill to my capacious list of interests to pursue.
There are many ways of positively expressing ourselves and even more people who can appreciate such works. The longing of the European spirit to be expressed lies within all of us. It has always been there from birth and always will be. I believe it is critical for us to not neglect what we can accomplish with our ability. If it is not meant to be, then so be it. I have learned this well myself and have also defied it. What about you? What skills do you have that you are unaware of or have not cultivated within you? There is only one way to discover it..
When we live in a world without beauty, it is our responsibility to create our own.